A Short Story

The large oak had fallen many years ago from its place at the quiet river bank into the water. It was a bridge from the two-foot bank to the short span of beach at the water's edge. From the middle of the trunk grew a towering branch, the life of the tree continuing. The small spider sensed the time approaching and moved from the center of the large limb to its outer edges and waited for Sarah.

Sarah had come every summer for the last four years, and the spinner hoped she wasn't now too old. The crackle of dry grass and slow movement through briars let her know that Sarah was on her way. She unfolded her legs one by one and watched the little girl settle herself on the tree trunk. She took off her shoes and socks, easing her feet into the water. She sat there for awhile, looking across the river, its slow progress rippling on the sandy edge. Then in a small whisper she began singing a lullaby, moving up and down in tone, with wind and river, in and out of time.

The spider began spinning her web, working from point to point with the music. She set the notes on the staff of silver, echoing and capturing the sounds as sunlight filtered through them. For this she had waited through the winter. Now she wrote the songs in webbing to be recounted over and over as the wind whistled through the weaving.

Sarah came every day for two weeks and the spider spun her webs. Then autumn slowly turned leaves into colors of bronze, but the webs still sang Sarah's songs and the spider listened as if summer had just begun.

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Copyright © 1995 by Linda Collins
All Rights Reserved
First published April 9, 1995 in the Sabian News Letter